THERE are times when Vicki Webber feels like her heart is going to jump out of her throat.
Ms Webber and training partner Jade Williams are competing at the Down Under CrossFit championships in Wollongong this weekend.
The top 82 female athletes in Australia will contest six events over three days involving weight lifting, gymnastics, running, swimming and other functional exercises.
"All the workouts have a different stimulus," Ms Webber said. "Some are short and sharp and your heart rate is out of control. It feels as though your heart is going to jump out of your throat. Other workouts are long and aerobic. As you become more experienced you are able to dial that in. That is the difference between competitive athletes and your every-day person."
Ms Webber, 40, is competing at the championships for a sixth time. Her best result has been ninth and after "being out of the game for a little while" aims to finish in the top 40 this weekend.
Ms Williams, a 27-year-old physiotherapist, is competing in Wollongong for the first time. Fellow Newcastle athlete CJ Hunter is in the elite men's division.
Ms Webber, who owns Steel Coast Crossfit, trains six days a week.
"I like the physical changes and the mental toughness it creates within," she said. "You are being challenged every session.
"I didn't have a background in fitness. I had my second child and had started running. My knees and hips were hurting so I decided to try this CrossFit thing. Everyone thinks you have to be fit to start crossFit. That is the biggest load of rubbish ever. You come here to learn to move and get fit."